Why Christians Should NOT Boycott the Worship Industry

alexhaywood-worship-bethelworshipnight

Bethel Worship Night in Kansas City (Photo Credit: Alex Haywood)

A dear friend of mine shared a blog post on her Facebook timeline encouraging Christians to boycott the worship industry. I was very disturbed by this piece since I have some close friends who earn their income from leading worship. Here’s why Christians should not boycott the worship industry, but support it:

#1 God likes worship. The Old Testament such as Nehemiah is full of scriptures where people were assigned to sing to the Lord. The singers in Nehemiah made their living from worshipping God. My friends who make a living from leading worship have invested thousands of dollars out of their own pocket and hundreds of volunteer hours in training to lead worship. I don’t understand why we will pay top dollar for a doctor or an accountant but we don’t want to recognize or reward a gifted singer or musician who loves God. This is pure idiocy.

#2 The fact that worship is now considered a legitimate industry should be celebrated and not demonized. Worship was not considered a commercially viable musical genre until groups such as Hillsong and Jesus Culture outsold secular pop artists such as Lady Gaga. We should celebrate and support this trend instead of demonizing gifted Christian singers and musicians who have amassed a following with the message of the Gospel. The fact that my 17-year-old son wants to be like Chris Quilala instead of Chris Brown is something I celebrate, not discourage. Maybe God is elevating these young men and women who have a fire burning in their bones for God so our children can have heroes.

#3 Their are weightier issues to arouse our crusading anger then religions preferences that criticize excellent staging and performance. Get upset about the lack of God’s presence in your church or the fact that the widows and orphans aren’t being taken care of in your back yard. Get upset about the disabled who is being ignored or overlooked. Instead of wondering if light shows are from God, channel your anger by praying for an outpouring of the Spirit in the church. If you’re really upset that your worship leader’s message to follow Christ is attracting people, donate money to the poor in the church.

#4 Worship is a beautiful emotional expression of your love, passion and faith in God. Since when is it wrong to be emotional in our worship? I’ve seen people paint their faces, spend hundreds of dollars, get off work to sit in a parking lot for hours, jump up and down and scream for the Kansas City Chiefs. We cry at secular concerts. We raise our hands when our favorite team wins the game. Why would we divorce the very gift of emotions given by God to express ourselves to Him in an act of worship?

Would David’s act of dancing before the Lord be called ’emotionalism?’ Would the woman who poured expensive oil and washed Jesus feet in worship be called ’emotionalism?’ These acts were driven by their emotional expression of love and worship to the King of Kings.

For me, worship is an emotional experience which doesn’t make me weak. I remember the first time I received a bill I couldn’t pay at 18-years-old. My first response was to go the ‘lanai,’ an outdoor patio in Hawaii, sit on the ground and sing to the Lord. I’ll never forget those moments when I sang and worshiped God and peace came upon me like a robe.

We are made in His image which includes all of His emotions. Here are scriptures that refer to God’s emotions:

• Anger – Psalm 7:11; Deuteronomy 9:22; Romans 1:18
• Laughter – Psalm 37:13; Psalm 2:4; Proverbs 1:26
• Compassion – Psalm 135:14; Judges 2:18; Deuteronomy 32:36
• Grief – Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40
• Love – 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Jeremiah 31:3
• Hate – Proverbs 6:16; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5
• Jealousy – Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Joshua 24:19
• Joy – Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 32:41

The bottom line is that the fact worship has emerged as a commercially viable genre is a sign that people want God. My teenage and college age sons love to worship in a stadium with thousands of other kids their age. We should celebrate and support the worship industry.

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9 thoughts on “Why Christians Should NOT Boycott the Worship Industry

  1. Amen! These puritanical ideas are ridiculous. People should only worship God in silence, from a hymnal, and only in their Sunday best, right? Yes, there is definitely a call to silent worship and prayer time alone with God. Jesus did this often himself. Yes, there is worship in liturgy. There’s also a call to sing and dance.

    There’s more than one right answer, so long as it points to God. God uses us to draw people closer to him. The Church has to be among the world to reach it. Early Christians knew this, so why do we keep getting riled up about singular issues, shake our finger at people, while ignoring the suffering in this world, instead of living a life of love as Jesus taught? Jesus, God in flesh, didn’t separate himself from sinners, he made them his close companions and disciples. God wants everything and everyone to worship him, be close to him, and to be authentic. We can’t share the gospel if we are clinging to antiquated traditions as the only way to share the word and to worship. If we do, we alienate ourselves, and the people we are called to reach.

    For anyone who considers themselves a person of this rigid “tradition only” thought pattern, then why don’t you only sing the Psalms right out of the Bible or how about something more modern, say from the Baroque period, like Handel’s Messiah? This music is much more traditional/older than what’s in the modern hymnal. BTW hymnals also get updated. Pick up a 100+ year old hymnal from an antique store and you won’t recognize most of the hymns unless you are 100+ years old). We shouldn’t confuse our brand of tradition with perfection. Be gracious because we’ve been given His grace. Nobody’s perfect except God.

  2. I love to worship the Lord,we read in scripture that there is continous worship in heaven and Jesus taught his disciples to pray”Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..

  3. WOW! You took the words right out of my mouth.

    I completely understand what you are saying. I come from a very Conservative Church, who are quick to point out the length of a skirt, then point out who has a need within the congregation.

    It bothers me to see how the body of Christ instead of coming together divides itself, for things that i honestly I feel are petty. We are starting to look more like Pharisees instead of Christ followers.

  4. Yes, that piece disturbs me greatly. I understand that there are those who are not as enamored with the worship industry. I’ll admit, much of the music isn’t my style either; but it would never occur to me to call on the church to boycott it. Quite the contrary. While I may have differing tastes in music, I find some of the music coming out of today’s worship industry inspiring! Satan would much rather we destroy each other, because it makes his job easier when we’re busy focused on that then on his destruction.

    To be certain, many local churches have become lukewarm and withdrawn, but it’s not the fault of an industry. The music industry (in various flavors and genres) has been around for decades. The fault lies within the body. Because while there are those churches that are lukewarm and withdrawn, there are others that are passionate and engaged…and sing the same worship songs that come from that very same industry.

    The industry is a tool. And a tool can be useful or destructive, depending in which hand it is found. The problem isn’t the tool, it’s the one using the tool. So, if we are genuinely concerned about the state of lukewarm and disengaged churches, our words would be better spent addressing them, calling them to repentance and revival, and calling the believers to holy living and passionate prayer. Because boycotting in and of its self is negative. And negativity will not lead to positive results. We must not forget that the world is looking on. Jesus didn’t say, “They will know you are my disciples by your boycotting of industries you deem harmful to the body.”

    In fact, I’m not sure the world would take a boycott of the worship industry any more seriously than it did the boycott of Disney. It wont elevate Christ in their eyes, and it would be divisive to the body. And what would we have gained? Churches that are bloated with a sense of their own self-importance and idea of holiness because they don’t sing that “wicked worship music from that wicked industry”…and the body of Christ really doesn’t need to go there.

    • I totally agree! I remember wanting to be like Amy Grant when I was a young Christian. Keith Greens worship music discipled me. Yes we probably need to be discerning as to the Hollywood infiltrating worship but those worship leaders who have given their lives to the message should be celebrated.

      Sent from Leilani’s iPhone

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